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VMFS Heartbeat and Lock corruption on Dell EqualLogic Arrays (2049103)

Symptoms

When using Dell EqualLogic Storage arrays, particularly when running PS Series firmware v6.0.6 within your ESXi/ESX environment, you may experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Unable to power on virtual machines.
  • Virtual machines report as Invalid in the VMware vCenter Server inventory.
  • Virtual machine files appear to be locked even though the affected virtual machine is powered off.
  • VMFS volume may be inaccessible.
  • Messages in the VMkernel log or VMkwarning log files indicate METADATA corruption or Lock Corruption.
  • Attempting to migrate a virtual machine using VMware vMotion fails with the error:

    The operation is not allowed in the current state of the host
In this scenario, there has been no other failure affecting storage in the data center such as:
  • Hard disk failure in the array
  • Controller failure in the array
  • Unexpected power outage
  • Network connectivity issues

Cause

A VMFS datastore has a region designated for heartbeat types of operations to ensure that distributed access to the volume occurs safely. When files are being updated, the heartbeat region for those files is locked by the host until the update is complete.

In this scenario, the heartbeat region has become corrupt.

Resolution

If you experience this issue, file a Support Request with VMware for assistance in repairing the corrupt heartbeat region. For more information, see Filing a Support Request in My VMware (2006985).
 
Note: In some circumstances, it may not be possible to completely repair the corruption. In these cases, instigate your recovery plan to recover the affected virtual machines.
 
To prevent this issue from occurring, both VMware and Dell recommend upgrading the firmware to PS Series v6.0.6-H2 or later.

Note: It is important that you follow the best practices for implementing EqualLogic Storage arrays into a VMware environment. For more information, see http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/extras/m/white_papers/20434601.aspx.

See Also

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